The Pandemic exposes the need for changes to the way we fund and Education! (Part 2)

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Education Change and Recovery – Part 2

This PANDEMIC 2020 driven reactive and ad-hoc behaviors at all levels have led to many unprecedented things from closing businesses, canceling events, border closures, even forbidding freedom of movement and association, and now, excuses not to return to school!

We expect front-line workers to continue to prepare and provide services, some services are deemed essential and staff must show up to work and keep the doors open. Schools were not deemed an essential service, in my opinion, it should be an essential service, however, the utter hypocrisy of teachers claims they cannot return to work due to infection and safety concerns and it’s all for public health. They simultaneously continue to banish a multitude of non-threatening and easily socially distanced personal activities with family and friends, while sanctioning events like thousands close together rioting in the streets, attending political functions and socializing in shopping malls, etc.

No Regard for the Spread of the Virus

Businesses, schools, churches, restaurants, and bars cannot open but protests can go on across the country, without regard for the spread of the virus. Government agencies, clinics, and government-controlled liquor stores are open yet the local mom and pop shop and restaurants have to stay shut and are now filing for bankruptcy.

To the teachers who are protesting going back to school, You are making the case that you can’t go back to teach as it’s too risky for you, but unless you are medically fragile and immunocompromised, or you’re about old enough to retire already then most likely you won’t get PANDEMIC 2020 or just have mild symptoms. Why is it ok for doctors, nurses, hospital staff, fire, and law enforcement to continue working and providing services in closed and at times confined spaces, but teachers are special, vulnerable, and fragile?

According to Dr. Kaur, young healthy adults are not the target group for the deadly effects. Young people and teachers just out of college going to their first teaching jobs are not at the most risk, nor are older teachers who are nearing retirement. If you’re a healthy adult this is not as big an issue any more than your risk of getting every nasty bug that goes around. You didn’t stop showing up to work every year there was a bad flu season. You didn’t stop showing up to work when that nasty norovirus, Ebola, SARS, H1NI, AIDS, etc. made its way through the halls. So why now?!

For the older teachers who have been around for a while, I am sure you caught and fought off the various bugs that circulate around schools for all the decades you taught. Why the panic over PANDEMIC 2020? You could be sent to the hospital for a severe case of the flu and they do not close schools each fall and winter when teachers and students are inflicted with severe flu-like symptoms.

As teachers, I expect that there is an understanding of simple precautions you can take to protect yourself from any virus outbreak based on information sources of the chief medical officer. Additionally, if you are genuinely more at risk, then why did you decide to take the risk of working in a school with many germs and pathogens lurking around daily when you know you have a condition that puts you more at risk for dangerous effects?

Similarly, If you knew getting the flu or a stomach virus could land you in the hospital for weeks, and that in the environs of a school, these viruses circulate quite frequently and they are easily transmissible, then why go into teaching unless you accepted that risk to your health?

Available Technologies and Practices to Help Teachers

Today, with available technologies, teachers can continue to perform a full day’s work and reach many more students than they could in person. I support the transition to alternative learning platforms and not opposed to some compromises, such as what many colleges are doing like hybrid models or some remote classes and others in person for instance.

We have viable choices, some students can work from home, this will reduce class size and only those who are tested can attend in person.

Another option is simply making everyone at school take a COVID-19 test and exclude anyone who tested positive until they are cleared so no known positives will be allowed on school grounds? Higher education institutes are doing just that. There are many ways to accommodate the most vulnerable teachers if only we throw out the old protectionist, self-importance thinking, and bureaucratic red tape.

At times, professionals need to make hard decisions and consider options that are best for their overall well being, even if it means leaving for the year. Many will argue they don’t have the savings to do such a thing, but what would you have done if you were out under normal circumstances due to an illness or medical condition that you are more at risk of having due to your condition or diagnosis? Those with special health concerns need to plan for these events. If you’re prone to getting various cancers and need chemo for months, if you’re diabetic and injure yourself with a chronic injury that won’t heal if you have osteoporosis and fall and need months of physical therapy if you have a heart condition and need major open-heart surgery in the middle of the school year if every time you get sick it lands you in the hospital etc. you need a financial plan to get you through a possible health crisis. As teachers and educators, you know the importance of contingency planning and yes, everyone should have savings for a long-term health issue, but especially those more at risk for them than the average person!

We have to avoid victim-blaming or “speaking from privilege”, but thinking like a responsible adult. Speaking of thinking like an adult, much of the whining to cancel in-person school sounds like whiny children and teenagers saying “But I don’t want to get up!”.

For every healthy teacher out there, what’s your excuse to not go back when we know PANDEMIC 2020 doesn’t target healthy adults with the deadliest effects? Honestly, much of it could be construed as somewhat offensive to other people in various other jobs. How? Well, think about your store clerk, the truck drivers, pharmacists, bank tellers, EMS, the supermarket cashiers, in-store re-stockers, those in manufacturing and processing plants, and everyone in businesses deemed essential who had to stay open during the lockdowns.

Did Any of These People Sign Up for Catching PANDEMIC 2020 Any More Than You?

We could argue first responders and medical professionals “signed up” for any risk including life-threatening ones, but did your grocers? Your cashier? Restaurant workers? The humble janitors who clean all the allegedly infected surfaces? Your mail carriers? The garbage men and women? Did any of these people sign up for catching PANDEMIC 2020 any more than you? And yet we never heard them complaining or mass strikes despite having to work so we could stay home.

How are you as teachers any more special than millions of others who didn’t sign up for a global pandemic yet went to their jobs anyways without complaint or even recognition? They had just as much right to say it’s not worth our lives yet bravely did their jobs and supported themselves and their families. What’s so scary about teaching in a socially distanced classroom, or even hybrid courses?

Is it any scarier really, than being a store clerk or a janitor? You’re in a building with other people for 6-8 hours breathing in potentially contaminated air? So, are they?

People are still choosing to travel and fly in the confined space of an aircraft; we expect air stewardess and pilot to show up for their job and breathe the same air you are expelling. They are not complaining!

Did they think that dealing with a pandemic would be part of their job any more than you did? Nope. So really, what is your excuse to say you’re more deserving than they are of taking less risk? After all, you still go to the store, mall, etc.

What is your commitment to your students? What about what you owe to them when you become an educator of young minds? I fully agree teachers should not be taken for granted, and that they deserve to feel safe at work as much as anyone else. However how safe does “everyone else” really feel in this climate of hysteria?

Education is the Foundation of Society

School is an essential service and education is the foundation of society, a proper is a right and education opens doors and breaks cycles of poverty and crime for many communities. School is a safe haven for those who are abused and neglected. Not all families have the option to home school or stay home from work all year either to watch young children at home or the same resources a school can give an underprivileged child.

Yes, teaching is a job and teachers deserve fair working conditions. But it also goes beyond just collecting a paycheck, teaching is a profession of influence and mentorship, guiding students in the right direction. If we are to be concerned about anything is the sudden rise in school ground violence and shooting, these major occurrences make schools far from a safe workplace that no one signed up for, yet we plan and develop criteria, put in place processes and safe action plans to keep everyone protected should an incident occur. Then we can do the same for a pandemic.

“The beauty of doing nothing is that you can do it perfectly. Only when you do something is it almost impossible to do it without mistakes. Therefore, people who are contributing nothing to society, except their constant criticisms, can feel both intellectually and morally superior” unknown

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Dave Gajadhar is an Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and an Advocate for Human prosperity and resource optimization at Resultant Group (Edmonton, AB), business modernization, resource optimization, and transition advisors.

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